Industrial Engineering Alumnus Discusses Finding a Job and Working-Up the Organizational Chain

Joseph Niles, a 2006 Industrial Engineering graduate who now works as a Project Lead/ Engineering Manager at S&B Engineers and Constructors, attributes his involvement in student organizations to what helped him land his first job prior to graduation.

“I was a member of several organizations while in college including Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers.” Niles said. “Being a member of NSBE helped me gain exposure to a wide variety of engineering disciplines in various fields. I attended several of the regional and national conventions while at LSU as well.”

Niles said he was able to network at various events and build his professional network due to his involvement in multiple organizations. Because of his involvement, Niles was offered several job opportunities to choose from prior to graduation.

Niles started his career at S&B Engineers and Constructors immediately following graduation. At the Houston based company, which is founded on the principles honesty, integrity and safety, he serves as a Project Lead/Project Engineering.

“S&B is what’s known as a full service Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Construction Management firm (EPC-CM). “As an EPC-CM, we can tailor any of our services to meet our customer’s needs. S&B is a privately held organization that has stayed true to their roots over the last 50 years.”

As a project manager and lead, Niles said there is no such thing as an average day in his job. He is presented with new challenges and opportunities to solve daily.

“My most challenging assignment was working on a Multi-Project taskforce as a project engineer managing around 50 small projects at one time,” he said. “This was especially challenging because I had a client that was very detail-oriented, and he was very involved in our deliverables and work processes.”

Niles mentioned that as project manager, there is no set number of jobs that he has to manage at any given time.

“The number of jobs depends on the size and complexity,” he said. “On some of the larger projects, you may only be assigned to one job; if you are working on small project taskforce you could have multiple jobs.”

Niles has worked his way up through the organizational chain at S&B by keeping a positive attitude about assignments that were offered to him.

“I communicated to my department head about what my interests were,” he said, “and when an opportunity presented itself, I always tried to learn from every experience.”

Niles said current students have to do the same thing—“Stick with it and don’t quit.”

“The advice I would give to current students is to enjoy school, and don’t get down about having to miss out on some social activities because you have to study,” he said. “All the hard work that you are putting in right now is an investment in yourself, and it will pay off in a few years.”

While off the clock, Niles enjoys spending time with his wife Monica and daughter Isabella. The commute from work to home also helps him wind down and allows him to listen to music or sports commentary on the radio. In the fall, he likes watching college football—especially an LSU Tiger victory.

Joseph is married to alumna Monica Marie Niles, who graduated in electrical engineering in 2009. The two met while at LSU and were married in 2009. Monica and Joseph have one daughter, a future Tiger, Isabella Nicole.


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